Friday, June 18, 2010

7 Questions For: Author Bonnie Doerr

Bonnie J. Doerr is the author of Island Sting. She has taught students from kindergarten to college in eight states. Degrees in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, led her to write ecological mysteries. Her novels celebrate caring, involved, “green” teens who take action with attitude and a touch of romance. Her work has been honored by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with a grant for its use in environmental education and has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. When not nurturing her muse in the Florida Keys, she lives in a log cabin in North Carolina. 

Click here to read my review of Island Sting.

And now Bonnie Doerr faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Much as I hate to dodge a question, there is no way I can answer this one. My favorite books change yearly. Maybe even monthly. And the ones that stay in my head are not necessarily my favorites. Sometimes they haunt me for the wrong reasons!

At this point in my life I read for a well-written, engrossing story. I read very little non-fiction. I most enjoy books that are a relief from daily news or pressures—a mini vacation. I’m very visual so horror and mayhem freak me out and spawn nightmares. There exists enough ugliness and violence in the real world. I don’t want to read about it—unless there’s a hero cleaning up that messiness. And I enjoy a bit of humor in the story. Oh, and I must have a happy ending. So, when I find a book with a great story, a bit of humor, and a happy ending, that book is my favorite of the day.

I will share one of my all time favorites from childhood though—The Wind in the Willows.

Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?

It’s gardening season now so I don’t spend enough time doing either! Today it’s raining. That’s why I’m inside answering your questions! However, I consider much of my thinking time as part of the writing process, so I’ll give myself points for the time in the garden when I’m contemplating plot or character. But when I’m tapping out a draft or editing I spend half the day at the computer. I read each evening. Lately it’s been reading other MG or YA novels. But I live for a time when I can set reading for the writing business aside and allow myself to be carried away by an adult read sans guilt for what I’m not doing.

Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?

Long, winding, rocky, steep, and grueling. But I’m a determined chick. I knew I’d follow that path to the end even if it meant a dead end.

Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?

I believe anyone can be taught the skills to write. No one is born a writer. But to become an awesome writer, one must have emotional and psychological resilience and empathy that are not so easy to learn. I am always learning. Always searching. Always open to advice. There is an unlimited amount of information for writers out there and an amazingly deep reservoir of talented authors willing to share.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

The thing I love the most is what I have the least time to do these days. I love exploring a world I naively imagine I’m creating. During this exploration unforeseen twists and surprises await me no matter how much I plan a plot. Magical and delightful moments happen. My characters have minds of their own. But these days my life has been all about marketing which is definitely my least favorite thing. I share that distaste with most authors I know.

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Do not sit at home alone in your lair. Attend conferences. Join associations. Meeting and talking with professionals can open doors. Milk other writers for as much information as you can—through their writings or lectures—not by being personally pushy. But remember, your path will never be the same as theirs. You’re entering a whole new era of writing and publishing. Not all of published authors’ experience will even translate to your world. Be open, be aware, be cautious, be realistic, be patiently persistent. Develop many interests other than writing. Who knows what experiences will offer you insights or subject matter? And don’t be fooled into thinking that authors write for the money (in spite of a few big names).

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Jean Craighead George. We share a love of nature and wild things. We both worry about the future of our planet and the disconnection of today’s youth from the outdoors. I’d so enjoy basking in her brilliance and listening to tales of her adventures.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    It is a lot of fun, "meeting" authors through these seven question interviews. Thanks!

    I enjoyed checking out Bonnie's excellent website, too. Her books sound exciting and informative. I know another author who is very interested in the outdoors, Wendy Townsend, author of The Sundown Rule.


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